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Promoting a Healing Community

In the New Testament stories on healing, a community is often depicted bringing its patients to Jesus or coming with the healer. Health is not realized through an individualistic approach rather in relationship. Engaging the LWF member churches, their congregations and communities is central to the Assembly worship preparations. In this way the congregation’s vital role in the healing ministry of the church is made visible.

The congregation is understood as a community that brings and experiences healing. The communities chosen to prepare the daily eucharistic celebrations promote a healing community. These communities have varied perspectives to healing resulting from their own experiences and situations.

Communities chosen to prepare the daily eucharistic celebrations:

A special service when seminary students acted out the Old Testament story of "Joseph".

The Lutheran Theological Seminary in Hong Kong, China, will prepare the first regional celebration of the Assembly Morning Eucharist. The worship service will be an opportunity for participants to hear news from the place in which the LWF Ninth Assembly took place. It will be a time to pray for the church’s mission in multi-faith contexts in the words of seminary teachers and students. (TOP)

LWF German National Committee youth
in Kasel Germany.

The Youth Committee of the LWF German National Committee consists of young adults representing the different LWF member churches there. The committee members have developed the following themes related to the Assembly theme: God heals, not us; Healing takes time; Healing is visible—it leaves its marks in the lives of individuals and groups that have participated in a healing process. (TOP)

Children in Entoto playing with
pebbles and bottle caps.

The Entoto Mekane Yesus congregation in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, is one of the 5,200 congregations of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus. Over the last decade, Entoto’s membership has increased significantly. The congregation provides worship services in two major languages. The majority of Entoto’s members live in extreme poverty with a notable number of unemployed youth and adults. Ministry to some members living with HIV-AIDS is a special concern. (TOP)

The Student Community in Oslo, Norway, underlines pastoral care as a healing process. Students search for a personal encounter with a pastor in order to integrate spiritual, academic and personal concerns in their lives. (TOP)

A yearly summer camp for young adults in Õrimagyarósd, Hungary.

Forty-five years of an anti-clerical regime left the local congregation in Vönöck, Hungary struggling with secularism and suspicion toward the church. Organic farming development among families, the only livelihood for the community before 1945, ended after the compulsory organization into co-operatives in the 50s. Today, Vönöck residents mainly work in factories owned by multinational corporations. Few families can earn their living from farming. In this situation, the church seeks to function as a shelter, emphasizing the importance of community and nature’s healing power. The church seeks to facilitate encounters between generations torn apart by forced industrialization during the communist regime. (TOP)

A Buenos Aires ecumenical team and residents of the center for people living with HIV/AIDS, during events to  mark World AIDS Day, Dec. 1.

In Argentina the HIV/AIDS pandemic challenges the church to be in solidarity with people living with HIV/AIDS. Encounters with people living with the disease have proven that people fear those who are affected and therefore different from them, more than they do the virus itself. The center for people living with HIV/AIDS in Buenos Aires welcomes individuals whose independence has been shattered by the disease. It seeks to facilitate reintegration into the family, society and employment. (TOP)

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, which prepares one of the Assembly healing services, is an urban church located in the Highland Park area of St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. Once a Swedish influenced congregation, the 2,500 members today represent a variety of backgrounds and life situations. At the heart of the congregation’s ministry is a deep understanding of the meaning of baptism, its renewing and healing power. Gloria Dei’s mission statement declares that they are "called to be a caring, healing and welcoming community." Living out that identity has resulted in a monthly healing service. (TOP)

St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA, is a congregation of the New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Healing and reconciliation ministries are very important to St. Matthew’s self-understanding. The congregation feels blessed to have a multicultural community with others, people from Trinidad, Sierra Leone and Guyana. (TOP)

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